There are always loads of great things to do in London with kids, and I publish a monthly round-up of the best. This month there’s so much on offer that I’m publishing two separate round-ups. Look out next week for my selection of Christmas things to do in London for families – but if you’re interested in non-Christmassy activities, this post looks at what else is happening in the capital.
The UK’s biggest LEGO exhibition is in London this month. Brick 2015 is at the ExCel from 11th – 13th December. The exhibition features Brick Pits containing more than three million LEGO bricks, where free building is encouraged. On display are some iconic movie scenes recreated in LEGO, and you can try out the latest LEGO video games and more. You can read Nicola West’s review of the show when it was in Birmingham here.
Cost: Tickets for Brick 2015 London cost from £21.75 per person.
Go Ape offers exciting outdoor forest adventure activities for kids and adults at 28 venues across the country. The attractions offer experiences such as zip-wires and Tarzan swings. The 29th Go Ape site opens in London’s Battersea Park on 10th December and offers a treetop obstacle course which is suitable for anyone of six years old or above.
Cost: Go Ape activities cost between £18 and £45.
London International Horse Show
The London International Horse Show takes place at Olympia every December. It’s a spectacular equestrian event and is host to World Cup competitions in Dressage, Show Jumping and Driving. This year the show runs from 15th – 21st December.
Cost: Tickets for the London International Horse Show cost from £15 per person.
There’s a great variety of shows running this month which are perfect for theatre-loving families. Highlights include I Want my Hat Back at the National Theatre (16th December – January 2nd), The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Lyric Theatre (until January 10th), The Lorax at The Old Vic (4th December – 6th January) and Ben Hur at the Tricycle Theatre (until 9th January). And, of course, there’s a wealth of marvellous pantomimes to choose from too, including Dick Whittington at Wilton’s Music Hall – Nell Heshram has written a very helpful post about this season’s crop of London pantos here.
Star Wars at Madame Tussauds
If waxworks are your thing and you’re looking forward to the new Star Wars film, then you’ll love this exhibition at Madame Tussauds. 16 models of some of the famous heroes and villains from the iconic films are on display at the popular attraction. Star Wars: Episode VII is released on December 18th.
Cost: Adults from £19, children (4-15 years) from £17.28 if booked online.
Tate Modern is a really easy art gallery to visit with kids. It’s in a brilliant location on the Southbank, and it currently has a ‘kids eat for free’ offer in its cafe and restaurant. There’s a Family Activity area on level two and, once the kids have had enough of looking at modern art, there’s plenty of space to run around in outside. It’s worth keeping an eye on the programme of exhibitions at Tate Modern – Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture (until 3rd April, 2016) is an exhibition of kinetic sculpture – otherwise known as ‘mobiles’ – which looks fascinating.
Cost: It’s free to enter Tate Modern. Tickets for the Alexander Calder exhibition cost £18 for adults, under-12s go free.
HMS Belfast is a historic warship and is one of only three surviving bombardment vessels from the WWII D-Day landings. The ship is part of the Imperial War Museum and is now permanently moored on the Thames as a museum ship. There’s a family audio tour to help you to explore the ship across its nine decks and to imagine what life was like for the sailors who lived on board. On 12th – 13th December young visitors to the ship can learn how to decipher secret messages in a Cracking Codes workshop.
Cost: Adults from £14.50, under-16s from £7.25, under-5s free. There’s no extra charge for the workshop.
Every winter a large section of London’s Hyde Park becomes Winter Wonderland. The attraction includes an outdoor ice-skating rink, fairground rides, a giant observation wheel, a bandstand, two circuses, an ice kingdom filled with mythical frozen beasts and a Christmas market. Winter Wonderland is free to enter – you just pay for the activities which you take part in. It’s best to book ice-skating and the circus in advance as these can get pretty busy. Winter Wonderland is open until January 3rd, except for Christmas Day.
Cost: Varies according to activity.
Winterville bills itself as ‘the antithesis of Christmas theme parks’. The attraction is in Victoria Park in East London until January 1st. Winterville has a circus, an ice rink, a mini golf course, a pantomime, a cinema, a fairground, a big wheel and more. It sounds great but I’ve not been so, if you go, do let me know what it’s like.
Cost: Varies according to activity.
Disney on Ice
Some of the country’s top ice skaters are taking part in the new Disney on Ice production: Worlds of Enchantment. The spectacular show is running at the O2 from 22nd December until 3rd January and features characters from Frozen, Cars, The Little Mermaid and Toy Story.
Cost: Tickets for Disney on Ice Presents: Worlds of Enchantment cost from £20 per seat.
This month there are temporary outdoor ice rinks in iconic locations across the city. Some of the best are at the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, the Tower of London, Hampton Court, Winter Wonderland (see above) and Wembley Park. Last year we went to the ice rink at the Natural History Museum and the year before that we tried the one at Winter Wonderland – we’ll have to try a different one this winter. Wherever you are in London this month, you’re bound to be near an ice rink.
New Year’s Eve
The New Year’s Eve firework display at the London Eye, opposite the Houses of Parliament, is a spectacular annual event. You can buy tickets to see the fireworks (if you’re very organised) or else you can watch them on TV instead. This event is always extremely crowded and so it isn’t suitable for young children.
Cost: £10 per ticket – if you can get one.
Where to stay
Over to you
Do you have any tips to add? Do let me know if there’s anything which you think should be included in my next round-up, and look out for my post on Christmas things to do in London with kids.